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“Asceticism does not consist of prohibitions. Asceticism is activity, a working out, a perfection of oneself . . . inspired by the task of inspiration…When you have no theology of asceticism because you believe you’ve got salvation wrapped up, then cultivating virtue has no incentive. All that’s left is activism and activities.” (Father Georges Florovsky, Father Andrew Stephen Damick)

“In the first stage a man turns from darkness to light, from the domain of Satan to God; in the second, he cleanses the chamber of his heart from every impurity, in order to receive Christ the Lord Who is coming to him; in the third, the Lord comes, takes up His abode in his heart, and communes with him. This is the state of blessed communion with God—the goal of all labors and ascetic endeavors.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)

“Fasting and other ascetic acts do not necessarily indicate virtue. Blessed Augustine reminds us that even heretics fast! God will not see these actions if we mistreat others. God chooses rather that we humble our own soul. ‘A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit’ (Psalm 50:9 LXX, 51:9)…The ascetic disciplines we practice are not intended to punish us, but to train us in how to obtain salvation and then evangelize others. If we fail to discipline our bodies and bring them into subjection, we may discover that although we have preached to others, we ourselves have “become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).” (Orthodox Study Bible, Isaiah 58:2-5, Dynamis 1/5/2020)

“The way to God lies through love of people. At the Last Judgment I shall not be asked whether I was successful in my ascetic exercises, nor how many bows and prostrations I made. Instead I shall be asked, “Did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners?” That is all I shall be asked. About every poor, hungry and imprisoned person the Savior says “I”: “was hungry and thirsty, I was sick and in prison.” To think that he puts an equal sign between himself and anyone in need.” (Maria Skobtsova, Father Michael P. Plekon)

“In heaven, the bruises of suffering will not be eliminated but will be transformed by divine love into a newness of life. Christ’s risen body still carries the nail prints and scars of His crucifixion. Heaven is not a place of eternal slumber or a long sleep-in, but a life of constant change, continual creativity and newness, changing from glory to glory, more into Christ. St. Anthony the Great tells us, “The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain, and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control, and patience.” (Albert S. Rossi, PhD)

#FatherGeorgesFlorovsky #FatherAndrewStephenDamick #StTheophantheRecluse #OrthodoxStudyBible #Dynamis #MariaSkobtsova #FatherMichaelPPlekon #AlbertSRossiPhD

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